Jeter may not be ready for Opening Day

The ALCS seems like it happened so long ago, that I’d almost forgotten that Derek Jeter suffered a broken ankle in the first game of the series in all honesty, but Joe Girardi‘s comments on that brought it back into stark relief. The skipper’s message? His starting shortstop might not be ready to play on Opening Day. “He’s still basically non-weight-bearing, I believe, so, I really believe it might be a little push,” Girardi said.

Initial freak out aside, Girardi is a pretty conservative manager when it comes to his public statements, and it seems as though he’s just being as non-committal as he can without ducking the question entirely. That’s not without merit, either, as there’s pretty good reason not to be tossing numbers around yet, as how Jeter’s rehab work progresses will be the biggest factor in determining when he’s ready to return. As we saw with Andy Pettitte over the summer, putting too much effort into trying to heal quickly can easily lead to setbacks that leave you missing even more time, so putting the pressure on Jeter to be ready for Opening Day is likely counterproductive.… Click here to read the rest

Miguel Cabrera Deserved To Win The MVP

Admittedly, when we held our very own TYA awards, my MVP vote went to Mike Trout. Why? Because by all measurable statistics, no matter how you crunch the numbers, Mike Trout had the best season in baseball. No matter what awards he loses, no matter how many critics unwittingly joust against WAR, wRC+, and ISO, nothing will change the fact that scientifically, Trout was the best player in 2012. And to steal one of my favorite quotes from Neil DeGrasse Tyson, “The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.”

Yesterday, Miguel Cabrera was awarded the Most Valuable Player Award. As you would imagine, the sabermetrics nerds didn’t exactly embrace the results.

Looking over the MVP results, some of these ballots didn’t even have Robinson Cano in 10th place vote, meanwhile Raul Ibanez made a list the star second baseman didn’t. The NY Daily News’ Mark Feinsand included Derek Jeter (3rd) and Rafael Soriano (8th), but completely left out Cano.… Click here to read the rest

Cone crowns Jays division favorites

Apparently we’re moving from hot stove season to prematurely bullish prediction season in record time this year. Speaking to reporters at a charity event yesterday, YES broadcaster David Cone reacted to the big trade between the Marlins and Blue Jays by declaring the Blue Jays the division favorites already. “I would think they’d have to be the favorite, right now, in the American League East,” Cone said. It may seem a touch early to be crowning presumptive favorites, but then, if the 2012 Marlins taught us anything it’s that making a big splash to acquire Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle instantly makes you the best team in your division.

Alright, I’m mostly just kidding here, but I can’t help but chuckle that this trend is still with us. It seems that every year someone makes a big, unexpected move in the offseason, and everyone immediately proceeds to the knee jerk reaction of declaring them a massively improved team who have to be favored to win something.… Click here to read the rest

Bad arguments, postseason awards, and reactionary impulses

I don’t feel like saying anything about the A.L. MVP award which will be unveiled in a couple of hours, but whatever your thoughts on that question, this article by Dave Cameron is well worth a read, especially if you subscribe to the notion that an MVP has to come from a playoff team. The premise is pretty simple: if not making the playoffs means Mike Trout can’t be the American League MVP, then how does he get on your ballot at all? If Miguel Cabrera finishes ahead of him because he got the Tigers into the playoffs, don’t you then have to rank any player that the same could be said about on all five postseason teams ahead of Trout? And yet. there’s basically no chance that even the most ardent Cabrera supporter will have Trout outside of the top five, let alone the top ten.

My new working theory on this “race” is that it’s all just an elaborate ruse concocted by the baseball gods to lay waste to the traditionalist/anti-saber position for good.… Click here to read the rest

The Yankees and international free agents

There was a time when the Yankees were usually seen as the favorites to land any international free agent they coveted. From Orlando Hernandez and Hideki Irabu to Jose Contreras and Hideki Matsui, the Yankees (and their checkbook) were the big players on the block, and the international free agent market was a way for them to add new talent without going through the more traditional channels of acquiring and developing new players. In recent years, however, they’ve been remarkably quiet on that front, especially given that we’ve seen some of the most intriguing talents in the history of international free agency come to the states since 2009. Last year alone, the Yankees let the Rangers and A’s have Yu Darvish and Yoenis Cespedes, respectively, with little more than a token show of interest from The Bronx. As Brad Vietrogoski wrote at TYA the other day, those are two players that could have helped them quite a bit in retrospect.… Click here to read the rest

A Path to the Majors for this 16 Year-Old Girl With a Killer Knuckleball?

This story, which I first read on Fangraphs, fascinates me:

Who would willingly throw a knuckleball in high school when scouts are looking for fastballs and curveballs? Well, for a 15-year-old native of Plant City, Florida, knuckleballs have been the key pitch to a young successful repertoire — ever since Joe Niekro taught the fluttering pitch to her.

Chelsea Baker has thrown a knuckler for eight years — that is one year longer than R.A. Dickey — and has earned no little fame in the process, going so far as earning an ESPN E:60 segment in 2010.

Since her incredible 2010 season — her two-perfect-games season — the fervor around Baker has reduced from unrealistic expectations to under-appreciated talent. Baker, 13 in the E:60 special, is now heading towards her age-16 season, her first high school season, and she is riding a streak of five consecutive all-star selections. She is also mulling a professional contract in Japan. The contract would have her play in the three-team Girls Professional Baseball League (GPBL), where the top sluggers lead the league with 1 homer through 150 PA.

Click here to read the rest

The Angels are interested in Kuroda

We’ve already heard that the Dodgers and Red Sox are interested in signing Hiroki Kuroda away from the Yankees, and now Jon Heyman has added the Orange County Angels to the list of teams who want Kuroda in their rotation next year. This might actually be the most disturbing news the Yankees could have gotten on this front, as the Angels seem like a much more dangerous challenger than either of the other two teams here. Unlike the Red Sox, they’ve got a solid roster that should be seen as World Series contenders right from Opening Day, and unlike the Dodgers they’ve got a lot of room in their rotation after jettisoning Dan Haren and Ervin Santana already this winter, plus potentially losing Zack Greinke. The Yankees want to retain Kuroda on a one year contract, but he’s already turned down a $13.3 million qualifying offer that would have been a ~30% raise on his 2012 salary, and with this much interest and a thin pitching market, it’s hard to imagine that someone won’t put a two year offer on the table at some point.… Click here to read the rest

The outfield, left and right

Perhaps the title of this piece is misleading. I want to talk about something left and something right relating to the Yankee outfield, but it has to do with batting, not fielding. First, let’s talk about the “left” side of this equation: Raul Ibanez.

The Yankees have had preliminary discussions about bringing Voldemort back for another go ’round in pinstripes. As Mike pointed out in the River Ave. blurb, Ibanez hit to a 102 wRC+ this season, including a 115 mark against right handers, which is whom he’d primarily be used against. Due to Brett Gardner‘s injury, Ibanez had to play an inordinate amount of games in the field and that could have negatively affected his (still decent) production in 2012. My gut reaction with him (as it would be with most of his ilk) is that it’s better to let him go a year early, rather than a year late. However, if his deployment is limited, like Mike pointed out, to only DHing against right handed pitchers, Ibanez and the Yankees could be set up for mutual success.… Click here to read the rest

Will the Marlins debacle lead to less public stadium money?

I’d like to think that Calcaterra is right about this, but alas, I think it’s more hopeful thinking than anything else:

Loria, both with the way the stadium deal went down in Miami, and now with this cynical, soul-killing trade, has given anti-ballpark advocates a ton of ammunition. He has likewise rendered the old “we need a ballpark to be competitive, just wait until we have one!” pitch of team owners even more obviously hollow than it ever was.  Which is great if, like me, you oppose public stadium projects, but really has to tick off those who want one of their own.

I’m opposed to any and all uses of public money to build stadiums for professional baseball teams unless a) they’re enacted by a popular referendum (and even then, I don’t actively support it, I just don’t so much care if the taxpayers of a locality decide that they really want to spend their money on a stadium) and b) they’re operated as profit generating enterprises for the local government(s) that put up the money, but I have no expectation that what happened in Miami will make any difference anywhere else.… Click here to read the rest